The Friends of the Flinders Ranges National Park
The Friends of the Flinders Ranges National Park is an enthusiastic group of volunteers, who spend unforgettable moments working in the spectacular Flinders Ranges National Park in Northern South Australia.
The Flinders Ranges National Park is an extensive Park, covering some truly magnificent scenery and biodiversity, along with very significant indigenous aspects and geological importance. The area has to deal with various challenges, such as drought, feral animal and weed problems, degradation from past pastoral use, the odd bushfire and, of course, current human use.
Being such a large area, the staff find it difficult (read 'impossible') to do everything that this Park requires, and so the Friends group are a much valued addition to its care-taking. We have worked closely with Park staff over the years, and have formed many friendships that have been sad to say goodbye to when those rangers have moved on to other Parks.
Our projects are as wide and varied as the Park itself. Some of these include:
- Recent completion of 'Guide Hut', which is to be available as a rest stop for bike riders, which was officially opened in November 2011.
- Hosted the 2008 Friends of Parks Forum "Footsteps in the Flinders".
- Database information collection, recording as many features of the Park as we can.
- Herbarium collection of local flora.
- Tree planting.
- Seed collection.
- On-going work in the Old Wilpena Station homestead garden.
- Restoration work on various ruins.
- Restoration of the drystone wall at Appealinna, with initial guidance from a visiting ranger from UK's Lakes District.
The Friends group also runs the 'Seasonal Events' in the Park (Organised by member Athol Jackson), in the Spring and Autumn school holidays, which provides a range of tours and activities for families to take part in, while visiting the area.
Although we love our 'work' and the satisfaction it brings us, we also have social and exploratory events, such as BBQ's, tours with rangers, or our group 'historians', or visiting guests such as geologists. Some of our members also attend the annual Friends of Parks Forum, where we have won awards on several occasions.
There is opportunity to learn so many new skills... and to pass on old ones. And to learn about our wonderful Park and its ecosystems and inhabitants. I think we all leave a working bee with a little more knowledge or understanding than when we arrived.
Accommodation for the working bees is usually in the Oraparinna Shearers Quarters, which has several rooms of bunk beds, male and female toilet and shower blocks, huge equipped kitchen and a lounge area with slow combustion fire. It is a lovely venue for relaxing and chatting after a days work or exploration.
Our membership is mostly from Adelaide, with some locals who support us by joining, even though they are often too busy with their properties to actively participate a lot, and a smattering of other members from other parts of SA, and in fact further afield. Ages range from the very young (my son was only a few months old when we began- 17 now!!) to over 80 years old! The majority of active members are of 'retired' age, however we enthusiastically encourage younger people to get involved!
Membership to the Friends of the Flinders Ranges National Park is $20 per family per year, and includes a monthly newsletter.
Visit the site http://www.friendsofflindersranges.org.au/index.htm for the joining form and other information.
All members are encouraged, though not required, to attend working bees in the Park. Due to the distance needed to travel, this year we are trialing several longer working bees, to make the trip seem more worthwhile. You may attend for all, or part of the period, depending on your availability. Working bees pretty much always contain a weekend within them.
Working bees for this year will be posted as soon as they are finalised.
Hope to see you there!